A short walk along an Anglesey Hedgerow

About 18 months ago we spent a family holiday on the isle of Anglesey, spending some of our time seeking out ancient sites.

We walked along a young native hedge, planted by Cadwy in the last few years, along a gravel path that led us towards the wonderful prehistoric burial mound, Bryn Celli Ddu.

Some shrub species were flowering well but we were also fascinated by the number of wildflowers already established and growing happily in the new hedge’s shade.

The main hedging species was Hawthorn which was interspersed with Gorse and Elder punctuated by taller trees such as Damsons, Sycamores and Field Maples. even the odd Oak sapling was trying its luck beneath the hedge.

    

Flowering perennials and even a bulb species have colonised the shaded area beneath the leaf canopy of the hedge and the accompanying trees. We spotted Herb Robert, Celandine, Bluebell, Daisy, Vetch, Primrose, Lady’s Smock, Germander Speedwell and Dandelion.

     

Even in shady places plants found it to their liking. Ferns enjoyed the shade at the very centre of the hedge and ivy clambered over he stone built wall where the hedge ends.

 

Insects and invertebrates move in as the number of plant species increase and that leads to predators including other insects, birds and mammals.

 

The delights of Dandelion and its “blowing clock” were experienced by our granddaughter Arabella after Jude shared its magic.

    Success!

 

 

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Return to Waterperry – part 2

As promised I am back sharing with you our summer time visit to the gardens at Waterperry.

Through this wooden gate we discovered a formal garden divided into four sections all featuring interesting and unusual alpines. The golden crocus lookalikes are Sternbergia lutea. Since seeing this beautiful patch we ordered a dozen for our own garden.

The orange flowers looking somewhat like Pentstemon pinifolia ‘Wisley Fire’ was in fact Zauschneria californica ‘Dublin’. Again, although we already grow P. ‘Wisley Fire’ we have bought the Zauschneria too and planted it in scree,

Occasionally when exploring gardens we come across seats that really surprise and impress and here at Waterperry we did just that. The first, the ‘Head Gardener’ seat seems to suit me! I want one! Jude obviously equally enjoyed the other.

 

As well as garden seats we discovered a spherical stone water feature which had the thinnest film of water seeping over its edge and down the sides. Completely different but again rather interesting was this thatched dovecote.

These metal and glass screens looked equally good close-up as they did from a distance. The light altered their colours as we moved around them.

I will finish this report on our return visit to Waterperry Gardens with photos of this beautiful figure sculpture sitting on top of the wall and a stunning piece of cloud pruning.

 

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Return to Waterperry – part 1

Waterperry in Oxfordshire is a garden we have visited a few times in the past and enjoyed it every time, so finding the opportunity to drop in while traveling down south we welcomed it.

Set up in 1932 the garden is the home of the School of Horticulture for Ladies run by the stern-looking Beatrix Havergal. Today it is a glorious garden which gave us several hours of enjoyable wandering.

We visited at a time when I was writing a new garden talk titled, “Fabulous Foliage, the unsung hero of our gardens”, so many of my photos focused on the way the gardeners put foliage colours and textures together. The pear orchard was a very peaceful place and looked to promise great crops before too long.

The garden is punctuated with pieces of sculptures varying widely in style, from the beautiful figure in the canal to the rather formal to the beautiful obelisk with words from the Koran on each face.

  

Probably our favourite part of the garden was the designated ‘quiet place’ which was an enclosed garden exuding calm and peace. The planting softened the formal layout and the beautiful sculptural figure with the lamp pulled us towards it. I was so impressed by the simple but effective plant combinations at her feet.

   

The most colourful areas in the garden were the trial beds and the long richly planted herbaceous border.

 

Waterperry Gardens have so much to offer and there is so much we haven’t shared with you in this post, so I will continue in part 2.

 

 

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My Garden Journal 2020 – March

This is already the third visit to my Garden Journal 2020 and this month is officially the start of spring. On the first day for March I wrote, “March, the month when we are informed by the Met Office, marks the start of spring, from the first day in fact. This seems so inappropriate as the only true signs of new seasons are the changes in the weather and in plants. We are having a few bright days early in March but we still wake to hard frosts sometimes. In the garden we are beginning to see signs of spring, opening leaf buds that give brightest greens or deep reds and purples.”

 

On the next page I wrote, “They say of March, ‘In like a lion, out like a lamb’, an old-wives’ tale. The end of February was all ‘lion-like’ and so we spent the first week of March helping our house and garden recover from the damage wreaked by  three violent storms.”

“Two specimen trees were flattened as were climber-covered trellises. Fence panels were destroyed and our back gate escaped from its hinges”

“Hard work every day for a week soon had us looking reasonably ‘ship-shape’. The fences and trellis were replaced with stronger versions and some trees were upright once again.”

Over the page we get colourful as we feature spring bedding primulas. “March gives us plenty of colour from short-growing flowering primulas and shrubs. Our native Primroses are our true favourite but this year we have added a few bedding primulas for extra colour. The other single flowers are self-seeded crosses relating to our original primroses plus other herbaceous hardy primulas.”

Next I looked at garden tasks we had to get done in March. “Tasks in the garden in March included planting a new long thin border at the bottom of our drive. The border is part in our garden and part in our neighbours. We planted a variety of thymes, low-growing sedum, plus small carex grasses and other succulents.

“Our Cercis siliquastrum is back upright once again! Ian our garden helper giave the lawn its first cut, while Jude treated our trellises with organic algae remover.”

 

“A new pot of foliage plants is planted up with small foliage shrubs with a carex for added texture.”

Over onto the next double page spread I looked at coloured stems and bark. I wrote, “Probably the star of our garden in winter and early spring is Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire” which we grow as pollards. So we get the brightest of stems possible in shades of yellow, coral, oranges and reds. At the end of the month we will cut it back to its knobbly heads.”

I included a print of an i-Pad sketch of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and a photo taken last April showing the same shrub after pollarding.

On the opposite page I continued, “Stem and bark plants of the month for March are acers. We grow a few dozen different acers in our garden, both shrubs and trees. When we buy a new one we look jointly at leaf colour and shape as well as bark interest be it colour pattern or texture.”

The four photos of the acers are from left to right in top row, we have

Acer ‘George Forrest’, Acer palmatum.

The bottom row from left to right shows another Acer palmatum and Acer pectinatum.

The page included my set of 3 crayon sketches of Acer sango kaku.

The final double page spread for March looks at our “Foliage plant of the month” and the “Flowering plant of the month”.

The final page for March features my ‘flowering plant of the month, which is pulmonaria. I wrote, “These little gems of late winter into early spring give us flowers of pink, white and blue, with some flowers showing off by displaying pinks and blues on the same flower heads. There are many more still to flower and develop their distinctive foliage too.”

I then shared nine photos illustrating just a few of our pulmonarias.

 

The final page for this month features a few more garden tasks we have completed, “The last week or so of March gave us a real treat, bright blue skies and warmth, so we took the opportunity to get a few more tasks completed.”

“We planted up our water garden in a bowl, which Ian our helper, prepared back in February. We had to get it level first though – quite a challenge! We planted it up with 5 plants – Iris ‘Black Gamecock’, Isolepsis cernua, Nymphaea ‘Snow Princess’, the oxygenator Ceratophyllum demersum and a tiny bullrush Typha minima.”

“We cleared areas of grass so that we could sow a wildflower seed mix to create little areas of meadow and we potted on the perennials on our nursery shelves.”

 

So that is my garden journal entries for March – we shall open its pages again for April.

Posted in allotments, garden photography, gardening, hardy perennials, ornamental trees and shrubs, Shropshire, village gardens, Winter Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simply Beautiful – No 36 in an occasional series

For the 36th post in this occasional series about simple beauty, I decided to revisit a summer’s day back in June when simple single roses were glowing in the sunshine.

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Spring bulbs at Avocet

This time of year is made extra special as the bulbs we planted in the autumn start to burst into flower. Daffodils give splashes of every shade of yellow often with orange trumpets. We have a few whites left from the hundreds we inherited. We are not keen on white daffs as they seem so wishy-washy so we dug out hundreds leaving just odd clumps. Crocus are far more delicate and come in a wider range of colours from white to yellow, orange and purple. Anemone blandas are joining these now and appear as delicate blue daisies among the fresh growth of perennial plants. We don’t have many hyacinths but the few we have are most welcome and remind us to order more next autumn. You may spot the interloper – the flowers of a bergenia – walking past I could not resist taking its picture!

The best way to savour the effects that our bulbs have on our March garden is to come with me with my camera and see what we spot. So follow the gallery by clicking on the first photo and then use the arrows to navigate. Enjoy!

 

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Hellebores – winter and spring perennials

At this time of year we love turning up the drooping heads of our hybrid hellebores. They can flower from mid-winter on through spring so are such useful garden plants and loved by most gardeners.

Enjoy my photos below of some of the hellebores that are in flower mid-March.

 

 

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